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TPG Telecom and UTS to transform flood prediction with 5G Network Sensing Lab

A new, advanced sensing technology based on 5G mobile networks could soon help protect homes, business and communities from major flooding disasters, thanks to the launch of a ground-breaking Network Sensing Lab between TPG Telecom and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

TPG Telecom and UTS today opened the doors to the new Network Sensing Lab at the university’s Ultimo campus in Sydney, where they demonstrated the cutting-edge technology being trialed by NSW State Emergency Service (SES).

The prototype extracts precise weather details, such as rainfall, water levels, and river flows, by detecting minuscule environmental changes in wireless signals transmitted through 5G mobile networks.

By combining these signature changes with AI and the NSW Spatial Digital Twin (SDT), the researchers created a 4D visualisation, showing in real-time how rainfall and potential flooding evolve and affects communities and critical infrastructure like roads and transport. This capability would be available wherever there is 5G coverage and is not reliant upon the deployment of traditional sensor devices.

The technology could potentially save lives by vastly improving and expediting decision-making for first responders or through the use of public warning systems and alerts used by NSW SES. This breakthrough technology will complement current meteorological tools that apply complex mathematical algorithms to simulate how flood and rainfall may evolve over time, giving real-time input into the process.

“Our partnership with UTS in pioneering this 5G network sensing technology underlines our commitment to innovation and our dedication to supporting initiatives that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives,” said TPG Telecom Chief Technology Officer Giovanni Chiarelli.

“By harnessing the power of 5G technology, we can revolutionise flood prediction capabilities in Australia and demonstrate the transformative potential of telecommunications networks and worldclass research in addressing real-world challenges.”

“As we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, we remain committed to driving positive change and contributing to a safer, more resilient future for communities across Australia.”

Testing of the technology is underway along Sydney’s Parramatta and Georges Rivers, and will continue as the centrepiece project of UTS and TPG Telecom’s Network Sensing Lab.

“The TPG-UTS Network Sensing Lab will translate research into industrial solutions,” said UTS Distinguished Professor Jay Guo, who will lead the lab’s research.

“There are limitless opportunities for network sensing technology aside from rainfall monitoring and flood protection. They include traffic management, object and intruder detection for smart transport, collision avoidance, search and rescue and health and sports monitoring.”

TPG Telecom and UTS have committed to a long-term partnership to fully develop, commercialise, and explore ways to deliver a cost-effective solution for large-scale flood sensing, prediction, and other applications.

This innovative use of 5G networks as sensors could deliver a paradigm shift in how disasters are visualised and predicted, paving the way for use by governments, emergency services, agriculture, mining and the insurance industry.

The Flood and Storm Intelligence Sensing project is funded through Transport for NSW’s Smart Places Acceleration Program, a $45 million special reservation of the Digital Restart Fund, administered by the Department of Customer Service.

CT Bureau

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